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The Karen Hammack/Paul Kreibich Quartet: Lonesome Tree (2002)

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Pianist Karen Hammack and drummer Paul Kreibich are both seasoned veterans of the West Coast jazz scene having appeared on numerous recordings of other jazz artists. Here they co-lead a quartet devoted to playing original material mostly by Hammock and Kreibich with one piece by Eric Von Essen. The compositions combine the structure of semi-hard bop with an occasional flight into the dissonant by tenor saxophonist John Gross. This melding of genre is especially conspicuous on the opening track, "Something Good". And that title as well as anything, is a good summation of this album. While there is nothing spectacular or ground breaking either with the performances or what they play, the group has a good sound and is loose enough to leave the listener feeling relaxed and satisfied. Occasionally that relaxed feeling is interrupted, but not shattered, by a tune as "Another Moon" which has Kreibich undertaking some jagged rhythmic patterns in support of Hammack and Gross. But relaxed is reinstated as Gross' tenor takes on the garb of a pensive alto on the lovely ballad "Sweet Mystery". Putter Smith, who has worked extensively with Alan Broadbent, gets in a few bass licks on "Elegy". After the first bars of "Lonesome Tree" I was waiting for the group to break into "Canadian Sunset", to which the title tune bears some resemblance. It would have been interesting to see what this group would do with a standard or two. Perhaps next time. In the meantime, This album is worth a listen.

Track Listing: Something Good; Waltz For Bev; Mr. In-Between; Elegy; Sweet Mystery; Lonesome Tree; Another Moon; Song for Eric; Thoughtprints; Space Mistress*

Personnel: Karen Hammack - Piano; Paul Kreibich - Drums; John Gross - Tenor Sax; Putter Smith - Bass; Ramon Banda - Percussion*

Record Label: Two Tall Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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